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19 NOVEMBER 2013

Applying Heidegger's Philosophy to Design

"Heidegger's philosophy offers what is arguably the most thorough account of the process of human understanding available. Although his analysis of interpretation is useful if one is to understand activities like innovative design, it never addresses the realm of design directly. Heidegger discusses interpretation at a high level of generality and chooses his examples from interactions between people and physical artifacts, like the use of hammers by carpenters. He is concerned with the nature of understandingly being in the world. While a person's world includes conceptual and imaginative realms like design, Heidegger's examples primarily come from the world of physical artifacts which can be encountered perceptually. ...

Heidegger treats artifacts in the world the same way he would treat design artifacts on the drawing board. That is, he is not really concerned with them as physically present objects of perception. On the contrary, his main effort philosophically is to distinguish artifacts–in–use from traditional conceptions of physically–present–objects. For example, a hammer in use is not understood by the carpenter as an observed object with physical attributes, but is skillfully applied to the activities of the current situation. Furthermore, this skillful use takes place within the context of future–oriented plans and desires, such as the anticipation of the item that is under construction. This is similar to components of a design, which are skillfully arranged in terms of their relationships to other design components and within the context of the anticipated final design. Marks in a design sketch, for instance, are important for their roles within a network of significances, rather than for their physical properties as lines. Interpretation of both physical artifacts and designs is situated. ...

The notion of breakdown in action plays a rather small role in Heidegger's analysis of human understanding. Heidegger uses examples of breakdown in order to make explicit the network of references among artifacts that are only present tacitly under conditions of normal use. Yet, the notion of breakdown has been elevated to central importance in the theories that have tried to adopt Heidegger's analysis to a theory of design and to operationalize this theory for computer support. Thus, breakdown plays an important role in Schön (1985), Winograd & Flores (1986), Suchman (1987), Ehn (1988), Budde & Züllighoven (1990), McCall, Morch, & Fischer (1990), Dreyfus (1991), Coyne & Snodgrass (1991), Fischer & Nakakoji (1992).

The fact that so many writers influenced by Heidegger have focused on breakdown does not provide multiple independent support for this emphasis. ... most of these writers have been influenced by Heidegger only indirectly–either through Dreyfus or through Schön. If one looks closely at the discussions of breakdown in Dreyfus and Schön, one can note an ambiguity in whether they are speaking about a (ontological) breakdown in the network of references or a (practical) breakdown in action. Dreyfus is certainly aware of the ontological role of breakdown, but he is concerned to make his presentation acceptable to an American audience, trained in the rationalist tradition. For the sake of concreteness, he uses examples that stress the breakdown in action. Schön is also aware of the ontological ramifications, but he has couched his discussion in terms of action (e.g., knowing–in–action, reflection–in–action), so it often seems that his examples of breakdown exemplify breakdowns in action rather than breakdowns in situated understanding. Given that it is easier to operationalize breakdowns in action than breakdowns in situated understanding, it is not surprising that people interested in producing practical results from Dreyfus or Schön's theories would tend to emphasize the action–oriented reading of the ambiguous discussions."

(Gerry Stahl, 5 January 2004)

TAGS

action-oriented reading • Adrian Snodgrass • Anders Morch • anticipation • artefacts-in-use • being-in-the-worldbreakdown • breakdown in action • breakdown in the network of references • breakdowns in action • breakdowns in situated understanding • carpenter • conceptual domain • concreteness • current situationdesign artefactsdesign innovation • design sketch • design theoryDonald Schon • drawing board • Fernando Floresflow • Gerhard Fischer • Gerry Stahl • hammer • Heinz Zullighoven • Hubert Dreyfushuman perception • human understanding • innovative design • knowing-in-action • Kumiyo Nakakoji • Lucy Suchman • Martin Heidegger • nature of understanding • network of references • network of significances • normal use • objects of perception • Pelle Ehn • philosophy of design • physical artefacts • physical attributes • physical properties • physically present • physically-present-objects • rationalist tradition • Raymond McCall • reflection-in-action • Reinhard Budde • Richard Coynesituated construction of realitysituated knowledgessketching ideas • skillful use • Terry Winogradtheory of design

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 JULY 2012

Reflection-in-action: framing, naming, moving and reflecting

"Reflection–in–action proceeds by a construction cycle of framing, naming, moving and reflecting. Framing and naming concern the problem–setting in that the designer constructs a problem out of a situation by naming the things to which she will pay attention whilst at the same time framing the way that the problem is viewed (Schön 1991). Framing in this sense imposes an order onto the problem; moves are made towards a solution in relation to how the situation is framed. However, the situation 'talks back'; surprise at the outcomes of moves leads to reflecting. Reflecting on outcomes may trigger either further moves or a new framing (Schön 1996). Reflection–inaction is not an interruption to fluid action; it is always embedded within action."

(Simone Stumpf and Janet McDonnell, CiteSeerX)

1). Simone Stumpf and Janet McDonnell, "Individual Learning Styles and Perceptions of Experiential Learning in Design Teams"

TAGS

CiteSeerX • conceptualisation cycle • construction cycle • cycle of learningdesign educationdesign problemdesign solutiondesign teamsDonald Schonexperiential learningframingindividual learning styles • Janet McDonnell • knowledge cycle • learning styles • moving and reflecting • naming • naming activities • naming processpedagogy • Pennsylvania State University • problem-setting • reflecting • reflectionreflection-in-action • Simone Stumpf • talk back

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 MAY 2011

Effective and evocative research: difference through the form and outcomes of the iterative cycles and the type of feedback that informs the reflective process

"From the differences we have described, it might be assumed that the distinction between effective and evocative research is between the analytical and intuitive. However, it is important to note that, while analysis of the problem and context tends to come first in effective research, as in all research, it is intuition that leads to innovation. And, on the other hand, while evocative research may evolve intuitively through the interests, concerns and cultural preoccupations of the creative practitioner, it is rounded out and resolved by analytical insights.

Because of this combination of the intuitive and analytical, both ends of the spectrum may draw on bodies of theory such as Donald Schön's (1983) theories of reflective practice and principles of tacit knowledge and reflection–in–action, to frame an iterative development process. However, differences can be identified between the form and outcomes of the iterative cycles and the type of feedback that informs the reflective process.

In effective research, an iterative design process may involve an action research model and prototyping (paper prototype, rapid prototype, functional prototype and so on). Each iterative stage is evaluated through user testing by a representative group of end users (through quantitative or qualitative surveys or observations of use, for example). The purpose of this testing is to gauge the artifact's functionality, usability and efficacy. The gathered data informs changes and refinements in each cycle.

On the other hand, an artist might stage a number of preliminary exhibitions, but these are not staged to gather 'data', or to obtain successively closer approximations of a solution to a problem. Instead, they are part of an exploration of unfolding possibilities. Feedback might be sought from respected colleagues, and gathered in an informal setting (in the manner of a peer 'critique'). The purpose of gathering such insights is to allow the artist to reflect upon the project and its evocation and affect and to see their work through the insights of others, which may shed new light on the practice and its possibilities."

(Jillian Hamilton and Luke Jaaniste, 2009)

2). Hamilton, J. and L. Jaaniste (2009). "The Effective and the Evocative: Practice–led Research Approaches Across Art and Design". ACUADS: The Australian Council of University Art & Design Schools, Brisbane, Queensland, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.

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TAGS

action research model • ACUADS • analysisanalytical processart and designartistic practice • Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools • conceptualisationcontextcreative practitioner • cultural preoccupations • data gatheringDonald Schon • effective research • evocative researchexegesisexhibitionsexploration of unfolding possibilitiesfeedbackfine artfunctional prototype • gathering insights • insightintuitionintuitiveiterative design processiterative developmentJillian Hamilton • Luke Jaaniste • observationpaper prototype • peer critique • postgraduate supervisionpractice-led research • problem analysis • prototypingqualitative methods • qualitative surveys • quantitativereflection-in-actionreflective practicereflective processresearch artefactresearch designtacit knowledgetestingtheory buildingvisual arts

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
15 NOVEMBER 2009

Learning algebra in a computer algebra environment : design research on the understanding of the concept of parameter

"Design research – also known as developmental research or development research – is a research methodology that aims at developing theories, instructional materials and an empirically grounded understanding of 'how the learning works' (Research Advisory Committee, 1996). The main objective of design research is understanding and not explaining (Bruner, 1996). This objective implies different norms of justification than would be the case in comparative empirical research. One important feature of design research is the adaptation of the learning trajectory throughout the research; based on previous experience, the instructional sequences and teaching experiment conditions are adjusted. Therefore, design research is particularly suitable in situations where a full theoretical framework is not yet available and where hypotheses are still to be developed. The methodology of design research is addressed in many recent publications (e.g. van den Akker, 1999; Brown, 1992; Edelson, 2002; Freudenthal, 1991; Gravemeijer, 1993, 1994, 1998; Gravemeijer & Cobb, 2001; Leijnse, 1995; Treffers, 1993). In spite of varying interpretations of the notion of design research, there is agreement on the identification of two key aspects: the cyclic character of design research and the central position of the design of instructional activities. We now address these two issues.

The cyclic character of design research

Design research has a cyclic character: a design research study consists of research cycles in which thought experiments and teaching experiments alternate. We distinguish macro–cycles that concern the global level of the teaching experiments, and micro–cycles that concern the level of subsequent lessons. Gravemeijer argued that the cycles lead to a cumulative effect of small steps, in which teaching experiments provide 'feed–forward' for the next thought experiments and teaching experiments (Gravemeijer, 1993, 1994).

A macro–cycle of design research consists of three phases: the preliminary design phase, the teaching experiment phase, and the phase of retrospective analysis. In the last–mentioned phase, the reflection captures the development of the insights of the researcher. Following Goffree (1986) and Schön (1983), Gravemeijer called this 'reflection–in–action' (Gravemeijer, 1993, 1994). As a result, new theories, new hypotheses and new instructional activities emerge, that form the feed–forward for the next research cycle that may have a different character, according to new insights and hypotheses. The process of the researcher's thinking should be reported, to ensure the trackability of this development for others (Freudenthal, 1991; Gravemeijer, 1994).

As far as the role of theory in design research is concerned, the term 'theory–guided bricolage' is used (Gravemeijer, 1994). The researcher is like a tinkerer, who tries to combine and integrate global and local theories, which may be issued from other domains, to develop a learning trajectory and a local instruction theory for a specific topic. This local instruction theory contributes to the development of the domain–specific instruction theory.

In our study, three full macro–cycles – indicated as G9–I, G9–II and G10–II – and one intermediate cycle were carried out. The first phase of preliminary design includes two related parts, the development of a hypothetical learning trajectory (HLT) and the design of instructional activities. This phase is followed by the teaching experiment and the retrospective analysis. Fig. 2.1 shows the three full research cycles. Cycle 1 started with a conceptual analysis that is described in Chapter 4. Each of the phases is elaborated on in Sections 2.3 – 2.6, whereas specific information on each of the cycles is presented in 2.7.

The role of design

A second characteristic of design research is the importance of the development of a learning trajectory that is made tangible in instructional activities (Gravemeijer, 1994). The design of instructional activities is more than a necessity for carrying out teaching experiments. The design process forces the researcher to make explicit choices, hypotheses and expectations that otherwise might have remained implicit. The development of the design also indicates how the emphasis within the theoretical development may shift and how the researcher's insights and hypotheses develop. We agree with Edelson, who argued that design of student texts is a meaningful part of the research methodology:

(...) design research explicitly exploits the design process as an opportunity to advance the researchers' understanding of teaching, learning, and educational systems. Design research may still incorporate the same types of outcome–based evaluation that characterize traditional theory testing, however, it recognizes design as an important approach to research in its own right. (Edelson, 2002, p.107)

This is particularly the case when the theoretical framework involved is under construction:

(...) it [the research] started with only a partial theory and has proceeded with the explicit goal of elaborating that theory before attempting any summary evaluation. The lessons that are emerging from this effort are being shaped by the concrete, practical work of design. (Edelson, 2002, p. 112)"

(Paulus Drijvers, Maria Hendrikus, 2003)

Fig.1 David Coghlan & Teresa Brannick (2001).

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TAGS

2003action researchalgebra • CAS • computer algebra • cyclicdesign-based research • development research • developmental research • how learning works • instructional materials • instructional sequences • learning trajectorymathematicsmathematics educationmathsmethodology • realistic mathematics education • reflection-in-actionresearchresearch methodologyresearch methods • retrospective analysis • technologytheoretical framework • theory-guided bricolage • tinkerer

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
11 JUNE 2004

Donald Schön: The Reflective Practitioner Model

"The Reflective Practitioner Model is essentially an approach to decision–making and problem solving. Schön found that when effective practitioners were faced with a problem in their practice, they worked through it instinctively and, drawing on previous similar experiences, they tried and tested out various possible solutions until they resolved the issue. They worked through the problem using a mixture of knowing and doing. He called this process 'reflection–in–action' and coined the term 'theory–in–use' to describe the nature of the reflective activity engaged in. He proposed that this type of problem–solving action was an intuitive rejection of the textbook approach that effective practitioners had been taught in their professional training. Schön termed this formalised approach 'espoused theory'. He proposed that by evaluating this type of event afterwards – 'reflecting–on–action', professionals enhanced their learning and added to their 'repertoire' of experiences, from which they could draw in future problem situations. Schön believed that it was the ability to reflect both in, and on, action that identified the effective practitioner from less effective professionals."

(Ann Kernaghan, Queen's University, Belfast)

[This site is no longer active. It was originally located at: http://sites.google.com/site/orientationtoonlinelearning/Resources]

Kernaghan, A. (2005). Is the Reflective Practitioner Model an Impractical Theory? Retrieved November 27, 2005
Retrieved November 27, 2005, from http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/EssentialSkills/filestore/Filetoupload,14115,en.doc

TAGS

action researchDonald Schon • espoused theory • practice • reflecting-on-action • reflectionreflection-in-actionreflective practitioner • repertoire • theory-in-use
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